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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – December 5

December 11, 2017

Poem of the Week 12/5/17

Nasreen Khan

Indiana

You moved us here the day before
my birthday. We packed up the kid and the cat
and the milk crates of secondhand books and cardboard boxes of anemic houseplants
and said goodbye

to the cramped one-bedroom we choose for its drafty sunroom
where we made our baby, and where he slept bundled under the greenhouse panes
in the pale January sun.

We said goodbye to the nagging, constant thrumming
that maybe we’d make it, and maybe we’d have enough someday to
do more than walk hand-in-hand past the New York City shops
in their Christmastime trimmings,

and goodbye to the church where we were married and goodbye to the friends hard-won
in the spaces between the North Jersey hustle, goodbye to the mossy wall on Park Avenue
that my fingers loved, goodbye to the people we had wanted to become here.
Goodbye.

Here,
where I see cracking plaster walls and a muddy Midwestern sky,
you see a future and an inheritance you can leave me, a backyard to
teach your son to ride his bike,
a sandbox to build, a tire swing to hang, a garden to dig for me.

You were so pleased to bring me home,
you would have carried me over the threshold
if I hadn’t been sobbing. Instead,
you laid me down on the camping mattress on the dirty floor to stroke my hair
and said what you’ve always said,
“We’ll make it, we’ll make it babe, you’ll see”.

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